Miracles Still Happen

Jenna Buenger

We've all read about the miracles Jesus performed in the New Testament, from raising the dead and healing the sick to opening hearts and curing disease. Jesus healed promiscuously - meaning He healed everyone who asked and believed, no matter who they were or what they'd done.

In today's world, however, healings and miracles are often deemed as nonexistant. We assume God's ear has grown dull and His power has grown dim. Yet the same God who healed 2,000 years ago STILL  lives today, and miracles STILL happen minute-by-minute.

How do I know? I am living proof.

It’s been 5 years since God revealed himself to me in a way I never expected. This story didn’t start 5 years ago though, it started back in 2007 – my freshman year of college.

*Warning, this might get a little long. But I know God is asking me to share my story, it’s really pretty incredible. So if you can bear with me, here it is.*

God's Healing Power

Back in November of 2007 I started having some problems with my vision. I went to the campus doctor who referred me to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor). After some testing it was confirmed, part of my visual field was missing – I had lost partial vision in my left eye and had been experiencing extreme pain in and around my left eye.

I vividly recall him saying, “I don’t know for sure what is causing this so I would like to send you for an MRI. It’s possible there is a tumor putting pressure on your eye.”

I think its important to note I was 4 hours away from home at Northern Iowa University, I was trying to play soccer and read for my classes with a bad eye, and I was heading into my first semester of finals at school. At 18 years of age, I was the epitome of an emotional mess!

As instructed, I drove myself to the hospital for my MRI and waited for my results to come back. December 11th, 2007 was a snowy day in Cedar Falls, IA and it was my 19th birthday. It was also my first day of finals and the day I headed back to my eye doctor to have my MRI results read to me…. the results were in and they were negative for a tumor! Whew!

BUT they were positive for optic neuritis. Optic what? Simply put, the main nerve to my left eye was inflamed and that was what was causing all my problems. Once again I vividly remember my doctor telling me, “Optic neuritis usually goes away on its own and since you’ve been having your symptoms for a while now and they’re starting to resolve, I don’t think treatment is necessary.

If it were to come back we could treat it. One in a million chance, optic neuritis is the first symptom of Multiple Sclerosis, but you’re otherwise a healthy young person so I don’t think that’s anything we need to worry about.”

Fast forward to late July 2008. Optic neuritis returns and back to the eye doctor I go. More testing was done and I was referred to a neurologist. More blood tests, MRI’s, a spinal tap and some additional vision tests were done. At this point I missed the first few days of pre-season at Western Illinois University (the new school I had transferred to that was now 5 hours away from home).

I figured there was no point sitting around at home waiting for my results so I headed off to WIU and joined the rest of my team. It probably wasn’t my smartest decision ever, but the day after I had my spinal tap (which was eventful on its own because I passed out multiple times during that test) I thought I would be fine to participate in 3-a-days…. wrong! I nearly passed out running stairs in the football stadium. Ooops.

On August 31 my parents and sisters made the trip to Macomb, IL to watch one of our pre-season games against St. Ambrose. It was August and it was hot! I remember being in the game and having to ask for a sub because I could barely see and my eye was killing me (did I mention the heat made my eye worse?).

At halftime I was able to quickly say hi to my family and I recall expressing my frustration about my eye to them. After the game we went to get a bite to eat. We were sitting in the back of the restaurant when my parents told me the doctor’s office had called…. the tests had ruled out all the other possibilities and I indeed had MS.

I’m not sure what conversation happened after that because all I remember is getting up and walking out of the restaurant. I found myself at the back of the parking lot not sure what to think or how to feel. Eventually my family went home and I was alone in my dorm room. There was a lot to process. My life had taken on an uncertainty that I was not comfortable with. The questions raced through my head and my emotional stability shattered.

There’s plenty more detail to this part of the story, but the part I want to get to before I lose you (if I haven’t already) is that God worked a miracle in my life. For those who don’t know, MS is a neurological disease that attacks the myelin sheath (or covering) of the nerve.

Every person’s disease progresses different and there are varying levels of severity as it depends on what part of the brain and spinal cord are affected. The important part for you to know, there is NO CURE. There is no medication that takes this disease away or that reverses the damaging effects of the disease process.

The only medication available slows down the disease process, which hopefully, slows down the symptoms. I had been on one of these medications since shortly after my diagnosis. I had to give myself shots every other day and then I switched to one that was everyday. I hated it. And actually I had stopped taking it all together because of how much it hurt and how much I just hated doing it. (Did I tell you I’m a nurse? And that I also know how important it is to be compliant with your medication?)

I was a rebel, I had become just like many of my noncompliant patients I had taken care of over my short nursing career.

March 4th, 2013. It was just like any other day. I headed to my regular neurologist check up expecting to get reprimanded for not taking my medication – after all I knew better. What happened instead is something I’ll never forget. The physician’s assistant, PA, came in and asked if I remembered when I had my original MRI. I told him when it was, he left, and a few minutes later he returned.

He walked into my room with a huge smile. He asked me a few questions – the same one’s I get asked every time I go – and then he brought up my medicine. I was honest and I told him I hadn’t been taking it consistently for quite a few months. That huge smile came back. He said, “Well, the good news is you don’t have to take it anymore.” …Excuse me? What did you just say? (Actually, I think I laughed out loud as I said, “What?”)

He went on to tell me that the routine MRI I had prior to my appointment looked absolutely normal. The lesions that were on my original MRI (the one they used to diagnose me) were gone! He went on to say, “I don’t know how to explain this. We don’t get to tell people things like this very often. But your MRI practically looks normal, you don’t need to take your medication anymore.” I sat there stunned at what I had just heard. I remember thinking you can’t explain this, but I can. It’s a miracle, Jesus healed me!

The story gets better. I walked out of that appointment still in shock and awe of what I had just been told. I got into my car and immediately tried calling my husband, Mitch. He didn’t answer. I tried him again. Still, no answer. Desperate to share my news with someone I called my parents. Their silence on the other side of the phone confirmed their shock and amazement too.

Then I called Mitch’s parents. They were together so I was able to tell them both at the same time. I could hear someone crying. My father-in-law, Jeff, started explaining they were tears of joy because God had already told him he would live to see the day when I was fully healed! I had no idea God had spoken to him in this way…. I didn’t know what to say.

I was still processing what the PA just told me…. All this and it wasn’t even noon! What started as an ordinary day turned out to be the most extraordinary day of my life!

It’s been 4 years since that day. I’ve gone on to have three amazing little boys, Brigham, Desmond, and Marshall. (Brigham’s middle name is Raphael, which means “God heals” in Hebrew.) I’ve celebrated 6 years of marriage with my incredible husband, Mitch. And God has made it very clear to me that I am to share my story of hope, faith, and healing.

I am aware that not all people in circumstances similar to mine will have the happy ending I did and I do my best to be sensitive to that. But I will not let the fear of being insensitive stop me from praising God for the miracle He worked in my life.

God is good. Miracles still happen. I’m living proof.